Ever wanted to work with or for wildlife? There are many ways to get involved with wildlife by becoming a volunteer with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division (WRD).
“I cannot put into any amount of words my respect and admiration for the good folks that volunteer for our agency,” said Rusty Garrison, WRD director. “They give up one of the most valuable of all commodities in our life – their time. They give so much because they want to ensure that Georgia’s precious, diverse resources are there for both today’s visitors and future generations.”
Through their varied knowledge and experienced skill sets, volunteers provide a necessary, effective and important role. Volunteers might assist with helping teach stewardship, ethics and safety to youth and adults, maintain trail and roadway integrity, assist class attendees in building bird or bat houses, provide archery and air rifle instruction, participate in wildlife surveys, put worms or other bait on hooks and take fish off, conduct prescribed burns, and they might even paint faces at outdoors events.
Does becoming a volunteer make a difference? Ask the participants.
Ricky Stringer, a volunteer hunter education instructor, said that kids that attended a recent hunter education event told him, “Thank you for such a fun day,” and that success was measured in seeing students that had never shot a gun or picked up a bow were able to “bust” a skeet in mid-air and hit a bullseye with an arrow.
Stringer hopes that his efforts increase the chance that students will continue these activities for a lifetime and become a long-time supporter of shooting and hunting activities and maybe even, become a volunteer themselves, one day.
Volunteers also make a financial difference. In 2016, volunteers served more than 52,000 hours, providing a federal fund match of $4,000,000 in U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Wildlife Restoration Program funds.
Register to become a volunteer at www.GoOutdoorsGeorgia.com. Create a customer account by following the prompts, then click on the “Volunteer for an Event” box on the homepage and follow instructions for signing up.